quirky entertainment

Three-Quarter Headshot Jan

Voyage Atlanta 2018 Interview

Voyager Atlanta 2018 Interview with Jan Levie

(the URLs have been updated in the reprint)

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jan Levie.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.

I hail from Theater and Communications. Loving honesty and not really interested in rote repetition made me realize that a traditional career in the performing arts or as a journalist might prove a real challenge, so I kept working and trying things out.

One day (er, evening), I found my niche when I was removed from my post telling spooky stories at my kids’ elementary school Halloween party. The stories were too spooky. The other PTA Lady was a Gypsy Fortune Teller. (She is now a Judge — for real.) She asked me to take over while she took care of something. I did and people started lining up in the hallways for their readings, snaking through the corridors, asking our kids where their mom’s ‘shop’ was… I couldn’t see anything in her crystal ball, so I had people stick out their hands and read their palms.

From there, I gradually developed the concepts we use today of providing interactive event entertainment for people’s big moments. Whether it is Chocolate LipsReadings or a Zoltar Fortune Teller Booth (free human included), Food Readings or Golf Ball Readings, a Photo Booth or a Wild-Haired Waif trilling along the bannisters of a balcony while tossing Good Fortunes to the crowds, we look at how we can share your message with your guests, prospects, clients, employees, family, friends and the whole wide world in a way that will make you unforgettable.

Has it been a smooth road?

The road is smooth, it is paved with gold. No, not really. You know, even those people who want something different are the one’s whose eyebrows arch in disbelief when you tell them what you do.

I think the hardest moment for me was when I attended an event industry event that was a Toga Party. The temperature was literally close to a 100 degrees and really humid. I Youtubed some ideas, but then, strapped for time, decided to go without a costume. While pulling into the parking lot, I had the brilliant idea of just taking index cards (always have those babies) and riffing on René Magritte’s “Ce n’est pas une Pipe” by writing “Ce n’est pas une Togue” and safety-pinning it to my sweet little shift dress.

Arriving at the event, I was struck by how many ladies had apparently bought or rented toga costumes. I mixed and mingled. When the Toga Contest was announced and entrants were bid to line up, I slowly and deliberately rose from my seat and walked to the stage. There, I joined a bevy of toga-clad beauties. The audience was asked to vote using their applause. As the MC pointed to me, there was a wall of stone-cold silence. Afterward, I gracefully took my seat again, made it through the evening and ugly-cried all the way home. All that to say that taking risks can be tough. You are literally on your own. No matter how many people you work with or how many work for you, growth can’t occur without risk and there will always be nay-sayers and obstacles on the way. For me, they are the mile markers of my journey.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Handy Entertainment story. Tell us more about the business.

If I were to say to you that we love to serve real people, in real time with real entertainment, would that float your boat? How about Chocolate LipsReadings or Zoltar Fortune Teller Booth, or Food Readings — would you understand how we interact? Even Coffee Cup or Tea Leaf Readings can hold a whiff of what you need to share and can be tailored to hold a message that supports your cause or thrills your guests because it is about THEM.

Our mission: To graciously serve people of all ages, walks of life and beliefs, empower them to follow their passions, and to share the message with which we have been charged.

How do you do THAT with handmade chocolate ganache lipstick and beautiful, handmade cards? You make it allabout your client, their guests, their takeaway and information you can share that will help them understand how they are a part of it all.

We are known for bringing excitement and meaning to entertainment and events, of pushing the envelope when people say, “We want to do something different, but we always do [blah, blah, blah].”

Just the costumes themselves are sometimes enough to make you ponder, “Homeless or Hipster?” Recently while loading out of a big downtown hotel, the doorman body-blocked me as I came in, asking me what I needed. He seemed reluctant to let Little Miss Muffet pass.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?

The next 5-10 years hold enormous changes in all industries. In Live Events, many positions will continue to be rendered obsolete. The push towards outsourcing, automation, supply chain logistics, and continued developments in temporary and mobile 3-D printed accommodations will make live human interactions rarer and more desirable. Currently, we still have throngs of people paying dearly for the pleasure of being herded into ‘pleasure pits’ to ‘see/hear’ their favorites perform. How do we know that that image projected onto a screen is really the person we are being sold? People are beginning to segment their social interactions, and these groups are beginning to resemble the salons and soirees of past times. These movements have been sweeping through different milieus and have given rise to many popular experiences in the recent past: Micro-breweries, house parties, communes, mitigating your carbon footprint, farm-to-table—just to name a few. Live events also give people the ability to differentiate themselves and find others who share their interests and values.

Contact Info:

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Lip Print with Pop-Up Pop out printed on it

What is a ‘Pop Up’ ?

What is a Pop Up?

What is a Pop-Up and why do you need to know?

A Pop-Up is a simple name for an event that is unexpected, of short duration, a surprise, uses an unusual space as a venue, or any combination of the above.

What’s the difference between a Pop-Up and traditional events?

In essence, a pop-up is your rowdy teenager (novel, fun, rule breaker) and a traditional event, a Thanksgiving Dinner (you know what to expect, when to expect it, and you have a good idea of who’ll be there and what they’ll be doing and wearing.)

Why create a pop-up?

Could it be about novelty? Or better yet, surprise, intrigue, fun, or uniqueness? Show off your space, the activity, or even the exclusivity of the event. Looking to drive sales, donations, or build your client base quickly? Host a Pop-Up!

What are some examples of Pop-Ups?

Flash mobs, temporary Halloween stores, holiday markets are all versions of pop-ups.

Spread your party out by doing pop-ups—instead of one big bash where everybody feels overwhelmed, break it up into several small segments, mixing and remixing guests and elements—switching them out.

Or use a pop-up to showcase a new space, product, equipment, or way of doing things. Better yet, turn your pop-up into a road trip with dedicated vehicles that transport attendees from one unexpected stop to the next. Want to take it a step further? Deck out each bus with it’s own ‘costume’—decor + entertainer!

What kinds of entertainment do you want?

A Concessional Booth, (similar to our Zoltar Fortune Teller Booth) is the perfect place to a) tell your story to someone who’ll listen; b) get unqualified, but heartfelt advice; grab a little nosh on the side.

Great for holiday parties (Halloween!), corporate events, wedding receptions, family reunions, retail events, new business launches, openings, or just a way to see your people, and have a blast!

What’s not to love?

Contact us today and let’s get this party going!

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Ancient statue of a woman holding up a ledge before there were mammograms and virtual events

Mammograms and Virtual Events

Virtual Events and Mammograms

You haven’t really lived until you’ve experienced the thrill of running a virtual event or a mammogram.

What is it about women that lets them excel at being put under enormous pressure and coming out intact?

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Richard and Elon: A True Story

A True Story: Richard and Elon

April 2, 2021

 

Full disclosure about yesterday’s newsletter–Happy April Fool’s Day!

However, I actually did reach out to Sir Richard and Virgin about eight years ago re entertaining on the Mars shuttle. His executive assistant contacted me. We discussed my offer and I presented my other idea: my concept for helping women develop micro-businesses along the lines of my business for their charity that help women in remote African villages develop sustainable livelihoods. I believe it was for https://www.evebransonfoundation.org.uk. It wasn’t what they were looking for. I’m telling you this to encourage you all to reach for the stars. Now go donate somewhere.


A True Story: Richard and Elon

April 1, 2021

Hello Friend!

Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson are duking it out on more fronts than one. Spurred to action by consumer demand, they have just entered into a bidding war to keep their patrons and clients satisfied during what could be a tedious flight to Mars. No puddle-jumper this, the famous duo have locked arms in what will become the arm wrestling championship of all time:

Who will win Handy Entertainment’s services for the trip to Mars?

AP News spoke with Jan Levie of Handy Entertainment about this turn in events. Here’s the low-down:

AP: Tell us, how did all of this start?

JL: I was busy answering my spam calls, typical Tuesday morning, looking for some ‘Good Cop’ entertainers for an event where people are known for getting wild and ignoring safety protocols. Richard called and said, “Have a minute, Jan?” “For you, always,” I said, swooning at the memories. Just then, a lead came in from Elon.

Richard was hell-bent on talking me into entertaining on the next Mars flight.

Elon said he and Grimes were sure they could make it worth my while to entertain on HIS upcoming Mars flight.

I told Elon that not only had Richard asked first, but that Richard and I go way back–how I’d pitched Richard on entertaining on the Mars spaceship ages ago, and explained to Richard that I could only do domestic flights until I was done driving carpool.

AP: Carpool?

JL: Yes, I told Richard I needed the flexibility of domestic flights while I was the main source of transportation for my kids. We’re past that now, so I said—let’s do it! But I was holding out for a cute spacesuit-costume…

AP: What did Elon say?

JL: When I told Elon, he gave me the stink eye and said,

“We’ll see about that.” He can be really stubborn.

AP&JL: Thank you!

Now, go back to the pink button at the top of the page which goes to The Giving Kitchen–no joke–they are helping thousands upon thousands of hospitality workers across the Southeast.

 

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